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Navigating challenges: current state and future prospects of the Polish furniture industry

As the calendar turns to 2024, the Polish furniture industry finds itself at a critical juncture, facing a confluence of dynamic economic, technological, and geopolitical changes. Rooted in small family businesses and rich traditions that have been cultivated over the years, these industry players are now confronted with substantial challenges that span economic downturns, technological shifts, and global geopolitical tensions.

Photo © Michal Bednarek |

A year of struggles
The challenges for the Polish furniture industry began unfolding over the past year and a half. Economic slowdown, reduced demand, and the collapse of the construction sector have contributed to a decline in furniture production. The aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the geopolitical tensions arising from the war in Ukraine have further intensified the situation. The increased costs of energy, raw materials, and labour have led to a series of layoffs within the sector.

Export woes
Once regarded as one of the largest furniture exporters in the European Union and globally, Poland has seen a sharp decline in its market share. Economic downturns in European markets and a decline in consumer confidence have contributed to this decline. The economic slowdown in Germany, a key export market, has been particularly challenging, with a significant drop in furniture exports. The once-thriving industry is now grappling with reduced demand and heightened competition.

Financial strains
Rising costs coupled with an inability to increase prices due to low demand have plunged the sector into financial distress. According to data from the National Debt Register, company debts in the furniture sector reached approximately 111 million PLN by the end of the third quarter of 2023. This represents a significant increase compared to the previous year. The number of debtors has risen, adding to the financial burden on companies within the sector.

Outlook for 2024
As the industry looks ahead to 2024, the outlook remains challenging. Predictions suggest a further decline in the value of sold production and a significant drop in the production of furniture. Rising production costs and the strengthening of the Polish zloty have eroded the competitiveness of Polish producers in comparison to other markets in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

To navigate these challenges, Polish furniture companies must focus on innovation and adaptability. This was mentioned by Biznes Meble. Key strategies include the development of e-commerce channels, investments in sustainable production technologies, and the automation of production processes. H


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